This piece of advice goes along these lines. It begins with the common saying that the music world is changing (obviously true). Further, it's said that your playing is not the sole factor in determining your professional success as a musician (I think any reasonable musician would agree). It's pointed out that the traditional paths to success of competitions and orchestra auditions are becoming much harder ways to attain a lasting career (true for many people, at least). The buzzword of 'Entrepreneurialism' is touted as an alternative to the traditional paths to success that people take (orchestra auditions, university faculty interviews, and solo competitions), despite that fact that no one seems to be able to define what it means yet. Thus, it's often said to stop practicing all day, get 'out there' (whatever that means) and create your own opportunities instead of waiting for it to be handed to you.
The main point I'm making in this post is that the people saying this want you to get off the fourth floor so they can have the practice rooms to themselves.
You see, any piece of advice is probably good for somebody. When you're making sweeping generalizations about a topic as broad as the future of the music industry, it makes sense that any statement will be more relevant to some people than others. Do you really think that the brothers who are now tenured members in the Chicago Symphony in their early twenties listened to this advice during the orientation address from the president? Of course not. Neither did the guy who won the Met concertmaster auditions right out of school, the people who are still playing gigs at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, or any of the laureates of international competitions I know.
However, in some way all of these people seemed destined for success, and they knew it all along. How you could know this ahead of time remains somewhat unclear to me, but no matter how deep reason for their confidence was, it was obvious to everyone. It's equally obvious that if everyone pursued the same job, it would be a waste of most people's time. Everyone wins if we all find our own way to make a living doing something meaningful for the arts. So of course we want to encourage anyone with new ideas to go out and pursue them.
Where we get into trouble is when someone from one camp allows himself to be oppressed by the other. It can happen both ways. An exceptionally open-minded and aggressively entrepreneurial youtuber who spends his time putting his money where his mouth is could easily find the environment of a conservatory oppressive, and find it so very quickly. To such individuals, the arbitrary hierarchies, requirements, and hoops to jump through may seem meaningless, and their feelings would probably be justified. It goes the other way too, though. Imagine someone who seems to excel in every competition they enter, and gets the best gigs in town without any social media presence at all. We all know people like this. For them, it's simply not helpful to tell them that the world doesn't need yet another Asian kid who can play Paganini caprices perfectly. In fact, to them, such statements might come across as cynical attacks that attempt to devalue their life's highest calling. Unless they already have a well-developed idea as to how to succeed in a nontraditional path, and the people in their life to make it happen, the only result of them listening to this type of advice is that they'll stop practicing and remove all doubt as to whether or not they fail.
Let me try to reconcile these two opposing viewpoints by stealing a quote from a figure of great influence in the arts world today, Bruce Coppock. He quoted Steven Colbert to have said:
Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it's the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world. Because we're afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.
Cynics in the conservative camp will say that after you graduate, nothing really matters except your ability to land an orchestra job, assuming you're any good. Cynics in the liberal camp will say that none of the fancy artist diplomas or competition medals are going to get you anywhere these days, orchestras are dying, flash outweighs substance anyway, and those kids slaving away in the practice rooms are wasting their time. Both would be demonstrably wrong. It's kind of an obvious point to have to make, but anyone pursuing a path for themselves in the arts will have to overcome tremendous odds and a great deal of opposition along the way, and it's better to forge on and ignore the naysayers than to worry about the future and do nothing.